If you believe that your rights have been violated or have a complaint about your registration or voting experience, there are two avenues open to you to make the Department of Elections (ELECT) aware of the matter.
- The online complaint form will notify the ELECT and the General Registrar of the locality where the incident occurred of what has happened. It is most useful in reporting an incident whose resolution is time critical. You can fill out the
- There is also a formal grievance process which is available to voters who believe that their rights have been violated at the polls on Election Day.
First, review the Virginia Voters Rights and Responsibilities. Make sure you meet the requirements that allow you to vote. If you do not understand the requirements, ask an election official to explain them to you.
If you feel you met all the requirements but were still not allowed to vote, ask an election official to contact the Voter Registrar’s office about your case before you leave the polling place. The Voter Registrar will investigate your case and may be able to resolve the problem immediately.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, call the Department of Elections (ELECT) at (800) 552-9745 as soon as possible, preferably before the polls close. The sooner ELECT knows about your problem, the more likely you will get a satisfactory answer on Election Day.
If you still believe your voting rights may have been violated or may be violated in the near future, you may file a formal complaint using the Virginia’s Voter Complaint form.
- Fill out the Complaint Form (English – Español). Provide as much information as possible so we can fully understand the nature of the problem. You have 10 days from the date of the incident to file a complaint.
- Have the Complaint Form notarized.
- Mail the signed and notarized form to:
Virginia State Board of Elections
Washington Building, First Floor, 1100 Bank Street,
Richmond, VA 23219
The Virginia State Board of Elections will review your complaint according to the following procedure:
Initially staff must determine if the complaint alleges a violation of Title III of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Title III includes voting system standards; accessibility of voting systems to persons with disabilities; instructions on correcting voting errors; identification requirements for voting in federal elections if registration was by mail; statewide computerized voter registration list; contents of registration forms; and provisional voting.
If the complaint does not allege a violation of Title III, the complaint will be treated as an informal complaint under 1 VAC 20-20-80. Informal complaints will not be subject to alternative dispute resolution procedures outlined below.
If the complaint alleges a violation of Title III, the complaint will be acknowledged in writing, and the complainant will be offered the opportunity to request a hearing on the record by telephone or in person as determined by the Board which may combine similar complaints. The hearing will be conducted as a fact-finding, problem solving forum before a Board employee to develop a plan to make sure the violation, if any, does not happen again. A record must be kept, including copies of any documents submitted and minutes, a tape, or other record of the hearing.
The State Board of Elections will prepare a final determination. Neither financial payments nor civil penalties are authorized; remedies may include written findings that a violation of Title III has occurred, strategies for ensuring that that violation does not occur again. Final determinations must be signed by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of the State Board of Elections. All determination letters will be posted on the Board’s website. Informal complaints will be resolved by staff and responses may be provided by phone, email, or mail, as deemed appropriate.
The Board will handle all formal complaints to allow a final determination within 90 days of the receipt of the complaint. If delays put the 90 day deadline at risk, the Board may ask the complainant to provide an extension to complete the investigation or to conduct the hearing. If the complainant does not agree to provide an extension, the final determination must either be issued within the 90 days, or the matter must be referred to the alternative dispute resolution process. Informal complaints are not ineligible for alternative dispute resolution unless the Board determines the circumstances warrant this action.
The State Board of Elections will provide an alternative dispute resolution process for complaints that are not resolved within 90 days of the filing of the complaint (unless an extension is granted by the complainant). The alternative dispute resolution process is a cooperative, non adversarial, consensus building approach, unlike arbitration, mediation or litigation declares a winner. The Board will select a volunteer from a panel of state employee volunteers who agree to provide their services to convene a meeting of the interested parties to resolve a particular complaint or complaints. The panel member will recommend an outcome to the Secretary of the Board who within 60 days may adopt or revise the recommendation. The Secretary’s final determination may be appealed to the full State Board of Elections within 15 days. The Board may hold a hearing or rely on the record. The Board will decide all appeals within 45 days of the request for an appeal by a complainant.